THE HISTORY OF METHODS - 37
younger than them. In spite of the fact that in such a comparison
there is lacking the consideration of initial force innate in such
differing degrees in the two natures, the comparison is not illogical.
Small children have not yet acquired .definite co-ordination of
the muscular movements, hence their unsteady walk, their in-
ability to perform the usual acts of daily life like putting on
clothes and stockings, fastening up, buttoning, putting on gloves,
etc. The organs of the senses, for example the power of accom-
modation in the eye, are not yet completely developed. Language
is rudimentary and shows the well-known defects of child-speech.
The difficulty of concentrating, instability, etc. are other characters
of the same kind.
Prayer, in his studies on infant psychology; has at great length
illustrated the comparison between -the pathological defects of
language and those normal to the child who is in the course of
The methods which are effective in helping the mental deve-
lopment of backward children might be of service in helping the
development of all children, thus constituting a healthful course
for the normal human being. ; „
Many defects like those of language, which become permanent,
are acquired because we neglect the child during the most impor-
tant period of his life—between three and six years of age when
his principal functions are formed and, fixed.
This ambitious idea of being able to assist through scientific
methods of education the actual development of .man during the
period of life when intelligence and character are being built
.up_ had not struck, me in spits of the interest which I had in
That is why the story of this kind of "psychological dis-
covery " and of this scientific method of education became a story
Chance played its part, as it had done in so many discoveries,
like that of electricity. In fact, chance, that is the environment,
must almost always apply the spark to intuition; it is the environment